Saturday, March 03, 2007

Continuing My Education

Several fascinating things that I learned today (nevermind the kids’ education!):

Following a discussion on one of the email lists, someone posted the following quote:

“Brains grow in stages, like bodies and teeth do. Building a brainand keeping it exercised at the same time takes enormous amounts of biochemical resources. In-between those bursts of growth, all interest in learning slows, because the brain is preparing for another growing spurt and needs to conserve resources.”
This set me thinking, and surfing, and I found the following scientific extract:

“What was also not known at that time was that the human brain grows in a series of spurts [Epstein, 1974a, 1986], with rapid brain growth during the age spans of 2-4, 6-8, 10-12, and 14-16 years. During the rapid brain growth periods there is significant elongation and branching of axons and dendrites, creating more complex networks that should allow acquisition of more complex reasoning functions. Correspondingly there is slow brain growth during the age spans of 4-6, 8-10, and 12-14 years.”
(paper references:
Epstein, H.T. (1974a) Phrenoblysis: special brain and mind growth periods. I. Human brain and skull development. Dev. Psychobiol. 7:207‑216; and
Epstein, H.T. (1986). Stages in Human Brain Development. Developmental Brain Research, 30, 114119)

Apparently, the ancient greeks and hebrews understood this, which is why their learning/development centred around allowing for that “slow brain growth” period, and focusing stuff before and after that age.

I also found this:
“Muller and Pilzecker [1900](cited in Lechner [1999] and in McGaugh [2000]) published the results of a decade of study of how long it took for humans to solidify information in the sense that later additional information did not weaken the memory of what had first been taught. In essence, they divided memory into two periods: learning and consolidation of what was learned.Memory consolidation clearly depends on species, the complexity of the information, how often it was presented, and on the way in which it was tested. In these studies, it was found that the simplest inputs took between 6 and 10 minutes to be consolidated in the sense that later input of other information did not affect retention of what was taught. To quote from the translation [McGaugh, 2000] of their publication, “any additional information presented [before) that period] significantly weakened their recall of the material being studied.”
So, teaching something straight forward to my lads, I need to allow them at least 6-10 minutes to consolidate that information; and giving them more information doesn’t make it any more likely that they will remember what was taught, and in fact could lessen the chances.

Thinking over how the general “learning” goes in this household, I’d say we bear that out!
No wonder school doesn’t “work”..

It’s also just dawned on me that my younger two are both in the middle of “slow growth” periods, where as my eldest is slap bang in the middle of a fast stage. And, amazingly, it is the eldest who wants to knuckle down, and the other two who want to play!

On top of that, I was at some training today for the Melaleuca business that I run, and we were looking into the issue of why we need supplements (email me for the answer; you might be surprised! I can also tell you why theirs are more effective than others!). As part of that training I do, I realised something else I didn’t know before: our bodies need minerals, not just vitamins, because it is the minerals that the body uses to break down those vitamins. Also, so many of the body’s processes (muscle response, production of hormones, brain processing) requires minerals. And as our body cannot make them, they HAVE to come from our food.

This explains why herbal, vitamin, “alternative” remedies seem to work so much better than the “medicinal” options given to so many of us for our children with ADHD, Aspergers, autism etc.

I should shortly be receiving the children's vitamins that I've ordered, and it will be interesting to see how they make a difference.

As for the boys, they learned as well today ;0)

Whilst I was out at my training (and Roarke had a day’s work), my Mum took William off to “plant” some cress. Apparently, he said to her “I only want to do one”, at which Nanny said the seed packet said it contained 2,500 seeds. The look on his face made her realise he thought he was going to have to dig a hole and PLANT each one of them!

Joshua then helped his Nan with preparing the potatoes, and I plan to follow this up with the worksheets on the Potatoes for Schools website.

Samuel has not had a good day, and didn’t want to do the potatoes, which is odd as he is the one who loves gardening. Its hard, because I notice he usually has a “bad day” if he’s been left with my Mum; I just don’t think the two of them know how to deal with each other.

Though to be fair, it can’t all be down to that, as he has hurt both Joshua and William quite badly at different times today, and had a mini meltdown over dinner.

However, I am quite under the weather at the moment, and I know my brother and SIL have been ill, so maybe there is something viral going on… Last night I was very dizzy, and during the night I was sick. This morning I felt a bit better, but during the training I became increasingly unwell again. I've barely managed any dinner, and still feel very light headed. I think a lot of it is sleep related as I haven't had a good night's sleep now in nearly a week, and it has been a busy week!

1 comment:

Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Wow, that makes for interesting reading, thanks for sharing it. Elle